blogging self esteem189,438 Followers on Twitter

81 Klout Score

76,029 Subscribers to Feedburner

Yep, those are just a few numbers from Mr. Chris Brogan, one of the most successful ‘A-List’ bloggers in the world, and also a guy who suffers from a low self-esteem.

Don’t believe it? Yeah, I wouldn’t have imagined it myself. Heck, with numbers like that one would naturally assume Chris simply wakes up each morning and looks in the mirror to say, “Ahhh yes, another day of internet domination…” And how could he not with constant reinforcement of his words echoing off of every social media platform from here to the moon? But such is not the case folks.

Chris Keeps It Real

On Tuesday of this week, I wrote about the tendency that some ‘successful’ bloggers have to get too big for their britches, and thus allow the size of their communities to lead them to overestimate their importance in the grand scheme of things—a quality often referred to as ‘arrogance’ 😉 . Much to my pleasant surprise, Brogan read the article and left the following comment:

I do something quite different. I get into cycles of blogging sensitivity. I write very sensitively about things. I get very defensive. It happens about once every two months.

I have very low self esteem (working on it every day), and so I’m not one to think I’m all that and a bag of chips. I believe you earn your audience every day. And on days when I’m defensive and sensitive, that’s when I fail my audience.

I guess that’s what I’m doing differently that could be done better.

Yes, you did read that correctly—A guy who has been praised and read by hundreds upon thousands of people battles with a very low self-esteem. And even more interesting, Chris wasn’t too proud to admit it.

Impressive and real as it gets? Yeah, that would be a mild understatement.

A New Perspective

So impressive that I personally received a number of private emails from readers saying to the effect: “Wow, I had no idea Brogan suffered from a low self-esteem. I have a whole new perspective and respect for the guy.”

Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to make Chris out to be some depressed guy who happens to be kinda famous in the online world. But what I am trying to say is that one of the most successful ‘A-list’ bloggers in the world is a normal person, just like you and me.

  • He takes criticism seriously.
  • He cares about each post.
  • And he clearly doesn’t want to fail his readers nor his clients.

 We’re All in the Same Boat

I talk to lots of bloggers and content marketers. Some are business owners scared to death to blog, but definitively understand that if they don’t get with the program, their business will be left behind.

Others are blogging for more personal reasons, maybe not for business success, but rather to share with the world what life has taught them. And do you know what? They’re scared too.

Heck, we’re all scared, intimidated, and unconfident at times when it comes to our writing ability. No one wants to mess up and look stupid. Even if we aren’t about subscribers and ‘likes’, we still have an inner need to do well—at least in our own eyes, if not the eyes of every person that crosses our way.

So this is my simple message today for every blogger out there:

You are not alone.

That’s right. Chris Brogan is right there with you. I’m there too. So are your peers. And by knowing this, maybe you can now just shrug off your worries and get on with being the best you can possibly be.

Your Turn:

Do you ever struggle with a ‘low blogging self-esteem’? How have you been able to overcome these issues and find success? Because this blog is purely based on the power of community, I very much look forward to hearing your thoughts on this one, as each person’s words can truly make a difference.

PS: Why aren’t we friends on Facebook yet? C’mon, friend me before Google + takes over the world 😉

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123 thoughts on “Chris Brogan, A-Listers, and the Reality of a Low Blogging Self-Esteem

  1. Hi Marcus,

    This is actually an amusing post to me because I was just dealing with this early this morning actually. I don’t worry about public flogging because I do a great job on my own. 😉 Constantly I have to step back and put things into perspective and find peace with the way I’m handling things and my progress (or lack of). Oh, I have “bloggers envy” without a doubt, but … I’m thrilled to see others soar and my heart is truly full for them. The best way for me to handle things is to take a break from time to time and remember what is really important … my child, those around me, work, life in general …

    It’s nice to know I’m not alone, we’re not alone, Marcus so thank you very much for this post! Have a safe, fabulous weekend!

    Much kindness,


    • I appreciate what you’re going through Elena, I really do. And I think we’ve all suffered from ‘blogger comparison syndrome, and boy is there nothing worse than that! But keep soaring yourself lady, you’re going places, just hold fast. 😉

      Have a wonderful weekend,


  2. Marcus,

    We’ve had some private chats lately and while I don’t want to go public with some of what we’ve talked about just yet, I will say that some of that stuff has really produced some self esteem challenges for me. For example I look at BlogcastFM and have thought “how the hell are we 18 months into this and we’re not making the kind of money people who have been around far less time than us are?” I wonder why after 2.5 years the skool of life isn’t wildly successful. I realize everyday that I have to work at it, and fight through these self esteem challenges. But as I’ve always reminded myself, the pay off is worth anything you have to go through.

    • Powerful stuff Srini, and thanks for keeping it so real man. Yeah, it’s easy to look at what we’ve done and focus on what we ‘haven’t’ accomplished. But at the same rate, we’ve all done great things. Heck, you surely have. It’s going to happen my friend….but then again, a crystal ball would be nice, ehh? 😉

      Keep fighting brother,


    • Apologies for jumping in here, but Srini, these things that you wish for, they WILL come. I don’t know when, or how, but they will.

      In this respect, time is irrelevant. As long as we enjoy what we do, and it’s following our heart, our due reward will come. The reward isn’t where happiness lies, it’s the road you take to get there :-)

  3. Marcus

    This is why Steven Pressfield called his must read book on resistance The War of Art. Because you don’t win the battle once and then it’s done.

    You have to wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and fight the battle every single freaking day.

    I don’t agree with Brogan that on days when he was defensive he failed his audience – although he might not have turned in the post that ideally would, he did the work and turned in a post DESPITE his self esteem issues.

    That’s what a professional does. They turn up and do the work.

    Where he would have failed his audience is by feeling sorry for himself and NOT posting anything. (that’s also a vicious spiral down to the bottom).

    What you write about – that the ‘A’ List superstars are just normal folk like you and me – is true, and applies way beyond blogging and the Interwebz. Dig into any field and you’ll find thousands of stories of best selling authors who think their latest book stinks…or Hollywood movie stars who look like Brad Pitt but think they look like a frog…

    One of the characteristic that all the A listers share isn’t that they don’t feel like this, it’s that they move forward and do their work DESPITE this. That’s something that we can all learn from and strive to do.

    have a great weekend.


    • As always Paul, you simply have a way of bringing points together with words in such a powerful and clear manner, so thanks for this man.

      And I really like your statement regarding the fact this stuff applies to any field, industry, etc. Notwithstanding this reality, I think it’s easy for ‘non A-listers’ to think the big boys and girls are immune to those moments of doubt and frustration. It’s nice to have a reminder.

      Be well my friend.


    • “What you write about – that the ‘A’ List superstars are just normal folk like you and me – is true, and applies way beyond blogging and the Interwebz. Dig into any field and you’ll find thousands of stories of best selling authors who think their latest book stinks…or Hollywood movie stars who look like Brad Pitt but think they look like a frog…”

      You will also find thousands of multimillion-dollar corporation CEOs who own dozens of Armani suits, wear Rolex watches, and drive Bentleys and recognize they could live next door to you or sit next to you at the opera. Just because someone has a title doesn’t mean someone isn’t a human and privy to the same concerns and life limitations as anyone else.

      • Very well said Ari. Sound words indeed.

  4. I can’t say I struggling with anything, but if I can put my figure on it then I might be a little sacred of how people view me. I don’t want to be looked at a guy who is just another seo guy.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Yeah, I think we all want to be known for our unique abilities and strengths TC, good point man.

      Have a great weekend,


  5. Nice post Mr. Sheridan!

    Yes, I have suffered from low blogging self-esteem, so much so, I just stopped blogging.

    I have a bit of a competitive nature. I like to win. I like to be the best at things, or at least at the top of any game I’m involved with.

    I couldn’t imagine myself ever getting to the creative level so many of our friends are at. Making money doesn’t take creativity – it takes hard ass work. I can do that. It comes natural. I definitely wasn’t born with creative genius like so many of our friends and you have. So, I just stopped.

    I started off blogging for fun and just sharing thoughts. Then I surrounded myself with bloggers that delivered so much value with each article they posted, it raised the bar significantly, at least in my mind, and I began to question the value I provided the community with my blog posts… They didn’t measure up.

    So, for now I’ll leave the “heavy blog lifting” to you, Chris, Danny, Gini, Geoff and the many other gifted friends/writers who move people and the world with their writing.

    Cheers Marcus – I appreciate all you do sir!

    • Was going to say I had noticed your blogging stopped. Just FYI Mark, I’ll be here if and when you decide to get it going again.

      • Davina – I have much respect for you and your writing miss. You’re an inspiration and a crack up!

        Thank you so much for your kindness and support – keep rockin’ the blogosphere!

        • Mark,

          You have got more going on than you realize. Just write and don’t worry about whether it is perfect.

          • Mark

            Hope you’re listening to your ‘fans’ and audience!


    • Mark don’t quit on me. You bring value.

      • Echo that! I miss seeing your blog posts, Mark! I’m here. Operators are standing by.

    • Mark, I was just becoming a fan of your work.

    • I’m right there with Davina Mark! We sure are gonna miss reading what you have to say over at your blog but I hope we will still get a chance to read your thoughts and converse with you elsewhere.

      Either way – please don’t disappear entirely on us.
      Like I said – I as well as many, many others will be right here when you come back!

      Talk soon.
      All the best to you my friend.


    • Well Mark, it appears that many people, myself included, think you’re a much better writer than you give yourself credit for. Look bud, I’m not blowing smoke here but I really do enjoy you as a writer. You’re a great thinker, with your own unique voice. If you quit because the passion isn’t there, then I understand. But if you quit because you don’t feel like you stack up, well then that’s just a load of crap and you need to get back on the horse my friend. :-)

      And if you ever need anyone to come out to Costa Rica to give you that kick in the butt, just let me and JF know…we’ll be there in a second.

      Cheers to you my friend,


    • Mark, just look at the amount of comments and interaction your posts have got. It all adds up to the same thing – people ‘value’ you. We value you :-)

    • Mark, why don’t you go back to “blogging for fun” if you have the time? You can still create value with fun blogging…I think I do when I post. With some of the feedback I’ve received, I can’t help but think I’ve provided some “content value”.

      Value is in the eye of the beholder, my friend. You probably create more than you think…

  6. I think we all suffer this from time to time Marcus. I think most of us who blog have moments of writer’s block, and moments when we wonder if anybody creas about what we’ve written. But it’s nice to know that you A-listers go there as well.

    How to overcome it? I am fairly new at this, but I have tried a number of ways: blogging vacay (let them know when you’ll be back), threaten to quit, change frequency of posting, back away for a while.

    Usually I can come back refreshed…at least for a spell.

    • Hey Martina, so glad you’ve stopped in, and I do hope you’ve found a little inspiration from Chris’ example.

      Yes, we do all go through it. And yes, sometimes we need to change things up a little. But no matter what, we need to hold the course and follow our gut—which is what you’re doing Martina, so don’t ever give up on what you know to be true. :-)

      Thanks so much for your support and have a great weekend.


  7. Marcus,

    I had the pleasure of meeting Chris at BlogWorld. I saw that he would be there Thursday, and I set out early to see if I would have the chance to meet him, say hi and give him a hug. He was extremely kind and gracious to me when I met him. He introduced me to everyone he was with, and I never felt like someone he was looking down upon.

    He has a quarter of a million followers on Twitter. I have 500. I was never made to feel like a pain the rear to him. That is a great quality to have. I need to work on that more. While we were talking, someone else approached, and he introduced me as his ‘friend” and gave the other person my name. Very nice that he did that. Simple things like that are not forgotten.

    That, is actual humility. A person can make a fan for life or an enemy by the way they treat them in person.

    To the self-esteem issue, since I read Chris just about every single day, I know he struggles in this area. I think (hope) he knows how much his struggles in this area actually help me.

    Many days I feel unworthy. Many days I worry that my writing sucks and is not good enough for a following like his. My self-esteem is better, but not good at all. I felt very much an “outsider” at BlogWorld and that kind of thing can make me want to retreat.

    It didn’t. It actually made me work harder.

    Chris Brogan and Seth Godin are two of the biggest inspirations for my blog and I will always be grateful for the chance to thank Chris personally.

    As far as Facebook goes, you did get the memo that the party is at Google+ right? Gini Dietrich says you have to bring cake since you were last to the party. I was promised cake dammit!

    • Wow, what a wonderful comment Nancy and the experience you had with Chris again speaks volumes for the type of person he is—this was really great.

      I’m so glad you’ve persisted Nancy. You’re little snowball is growing, and so is your network, and you’re so very likeable. I’m glad to know a person of your strength and character, I really am.

      Have a wonderful weekend,


  8. Hmm… I don’t think self-esteem and self-confidence are the same, so I just gotta take both at face value. Will totally WORD Paul’s comment about delivering the goods in spite of the downside, the fear and doubt… that is what the pros do. And they realize it’s never done, the work is always — well, a work in progress.

    I don’t think I have a low esteem, but am self-conscious (esp. in person) and am not always confident in my ideas or latest post, second guess myself. I’m working on that, trying to get over that pressure; not an excuse or cop-out to throw up crap, just a reality check about things taken as a whole. How to overcome it? Think that’ll vary per blogger: for some it’s taking a pause, others to maybe stop obsessing over metrics, others to think about their blogging goals, etc. For me I suspect it’s a mix. FWIW.

    • Ahhh Davina—-not an excuse or cop-out to throw up crap—you made me laugh out loud with that one. Yep, throwing up crap is not a good idea 😉

      I think we all define ‘self esteem’ differently. In this case, I’m just using it as a blanket for any type of doubt, questioning, disappointment, etc when it comes to blogging. But yes, the work is never done…Hmmm, that’s a whole other topic in and of itself 😉

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend.


  9. As a newbie, it is very interesting and timely… It helps to know that everyone (even the best and most popular) can struggle some days with what to write and what to say and to wonder if anyone even cares.

    Everyday that I sit down and start to put together another blog entry, I can’t help but think of a Demotivators Calendar that I saw that said “Blogging – Never have so many written so much for so few”. This isn’t your issue Marcus, but it does seem to be mine and I have to say, well, so what… and keep plugging away.

    I have been lacking some desire recently and this post is helping me see that it happens even to the best! I AM NORMAL :-) and that is always good to know.

    • Yes, you are normal Karen, and I’m so glad to hear that you’re going to keep ‘pluggin away’. Don’t forget that I didn’t see much ‘hope’ at all with my blogging until after the first year…and let me tell you, there were moments of serious doubt.

      Rock on Karen, and thanks for your support!


  10. This is a good topic Marcus. I was pretty impressed with Chris and his note on your last post. I thought it was an honorable gesture for him to be so honest. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t idealize the guy in one bit (as I know many do) – I wouldn’t trade my world for his – but I do respect him. I have no reason not to. I don’t follow his blog, but I read his feature in Entrepreneur Mag every month…and always enjoy them. And I jump in his posts on G+ everyday just about.

    I surely don’t want to come across as arrogant…but I don’t think I have a low self-esteem at all. I do care about the impact I make. I don’t want to look stupid. But for me, that doesn’t constitute having a low self-esteem. I care because I have standards that I want to live up to. Not so much because I have other’s standards that I feel that I must live up to. Does that make sense? I don’t criticize every sentence I write. If I get fewer comments on a blog post – I don’t feel like I’ve failed. Yes, I want to be accepted in the community, but it’s not what I think about when I’m offline with my family.

    So, I do care. But I don’t care so much that it makes me shake – or feel good or bad about myself overall. I guess the thing for me is that I don’t make a living from my blog. So, the same pressures just don’t sit on my shoulders. I go and comment on blogs all the time and the author never, or rarely reciprocates the gesture…I don’t feel like less of a blogger or person.

    I say this so often man, and I know it’s getting old. But it always holds true for me. I live within a perspective of putting things in an order based on how it impacts my life. So of course my beliefs and family are at the very top. As long as those things are cool – I’m a happy fellow.

    I respect Chris and every other A-Z lister the same. I think the A lister: Chris Brogan is just about as human as the Z lister: James Allen (me). We’re all riddled with imperfections. We’re all human. We all want acceptance. We don’t want to look like fools. And we all have bouts of defensiveness and are subjected to getting feelings of inadequacy. I guess we’re really all about the same underneath it all.

    Great post Marcus. Have a great weekend! Me and the fam are headed to Nebraska to camp at Lake Mcconaughy and participate in some water sport activities!


    • I’m clapping , nodding my head…all I need is a Well said JK.

      • JK tends to have that effect on people Stacey 😉

    • No, Jk, you are not lacking in self confidence or self esteem. Thank goodness for that! You bring such an awesome perspective to things! Your analysis of where you and Chris (and everyone else) are is spot-on! We’re all going through our own personal sh#t from time to time and making the best of what we’ve been dealt. That’s why I don’t like to put people on pedestals – it’s just not fair; nor do I give people a hard time for falling down – we all do at some point in our lives.

      Best to you and the fam, Jk!

      • Yeah, that JK is something, isn’t he Erica 😉

    • Thanks for the post within a post JK 😉 I’d say this was awesome, but your minions of fans have already stated your case 😉

      Love how you always put things in perspective brother. Family first, and the rest just works itself out. :-)

      Have a great weekend in Cornhusker land!


  11. Chris’ comment serves to highlight, in part, why he is where he is – self awareness, humility, and thinking deeply about how people will take your articles are all valuable traits.

    • Very true Tom. I think a lot of folks can learn from Chris’ example here. I know I sure have.

      Have a great weekend bud,


  12. Yeah for sure. Especially when putting ‘out there’ the ideas and concepts that mean the most and are having the biggest impact, on me. I’m not sure if I have written it ‘well enough, engaging enough’. Left enough room for discussion or debate..and when the amount of interaction goes down…jeez….to start of with..I could have gone into a depression. I realise I have developed bloggers ego, lol. Low self esteem often effects the most unlikely of candidates..but there is something that marks out the winners from those just lurking on the side lines of life. “They build a bridge..get over it…and just keep doing their best..with humility, openness and honesty”. I hope to be and remain that type of person nee blogger

    • Wow, well said Stacey. I’m sure so many folks will read this comment and nod their head up and down. Love what you say at the end ‘—-They build a bridge..get over it…and just keep doing their best..with humility, openness and honesty —that’s exactly it, so keep building them bridges girl 😉

      Have a wonderful weekend Stacey and thanks so much for dropping by to chat,


  13. Marcus did you just take my tagline? 😉

    • Hahaha, you know, I just realized that…would that be copyright infringement sir??? 😉

  14. There is one thing that confuses me and although I love following Chris, this little thing is what actually bothers me a bit.

    The post he published several weeks ago that got the attention because a commenter said there were too many ads in it, so Chris posts another ad-less version of the post.

    OK, I understand that he wants to make everyone happy, that is probably how he got where he is. But if he let one of a few commenters make him re-do his post, while you have thousands and thousands not minding the ads, that doesn’t create a great picture in my eyes.

    It looks like you can bully a blogger around because he is doing what everyone else does – trying to make money.

    How do you keep respect for people that let that happen? Because there is always going to be someone that won’t like what you do. Are you going to change things for every person that says he/she doesn’t like what you are doing? That is actually a proof of his low self esteem I would say. If you don’t believe in your own choices, how will you ever build your self esteem.

    Sure, we make mistakes, and we should correct them, but I am pretty sure that was not the time to change your post because someone didn’t like it. With all the Google+ webinar fuss going on around him, where he got defensive and started explaining himself instead of just doing it, I think he looked a bit too soft for my taste.

    Although I understand why you say you have more respect for him as a human, because he is the same as everyone, it seems to go against your last post. I thought we were all the same to start with :)

    Anyway, it was my turn to play the devils advocate today :)

    Bottom line, like I said, I like following him and I would not like for him to get insulted with what I said, but there are times when you have to stand up for what you are doing, and he hadn’t been doing it for weeks now.

    • Oh you little devils advocate you 😉

      I’m glad you can speak your mind Bran. I’d expect nothing less. Because I’m not close to being in Chris’ head, I don’t want to judge whether or not he should or should not have listened to the complaints of other bloggers, and heck, that certainly doesn’t cause me to view his content and knowledge any differently. Chris freely admits he is imperfect, and isn’t that refreshing in a world where ‘gurus’ are constantly acting like everything they say or do is gospel? I don’t think a little doubt here or there makes a man or woman any less remarkable.

      Keep in mind Bran there are so many people out there that don’t have your confidence. What you have is incredibly unique. But the ones that have the occasional down moment needn’t feel like they’re the only ones going through such difficulty, and that’s why I thought this post was important, and it seems to have gotten a great response so far from quite a few.

      Have a great weekend girl, and try not to blow anything up 😉


  15. Perception and reality are interesting bedfellows.

    • Great post as always, Marcus and I have to echo the sentiments of many commenters – we all have lapses of self-esteem at one point or another. One comment that stood out was Danny’s – perception and reality are often worlds apart. I find that by being honest, my commenters help me through it. That’s what community is all about.

      • Isn’t it funny how that works Ana? Just when we get down and verbalize our thoughts, our core community is there to lift us up. Kinda awesome in my opinion. :-) Thanks so much for stopping in and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  16. With no blog, I have low commenting self-esteem issues. I’ll never be as humorous as Bill Dorman with his rapid-shot and always entertaining comments. Nor as prolific as Griddy with her detailed, lengthy responses. And John Falchetto is dropping comments just about everywhere, along With Davina. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Too many great commenters.

    But seriously, I’ve learned so much, in such a short period of time, from reading Chris Brogan’s blog, along with a few other so-called A-Listers. People like Chris inspire me. And we can share in his success really, with the abundant, FREE information he offers on his site. Still pouring through the archives! Regardless of how he feels inside, he is indeed “bringing it” every day, and this is probably one of the reasons he is so wildly successful.

    I’m not an idol worshipper or fan boy, but I was certainly impressed with the honestly in his post. I think most people deal with levels of insecurity and he was humble enough to come to your house and state his feelings.

    I definitely have self-esteem issues stemming from my childhood. I was not the skinniest kid on the block and my introverted nature kept me from exploring and making new friends. Even though I’m a 10,000-times better than I was at 18 or 20, or even 30, I carry a bit of IT with me to this day. And I’m my own worst critic. So when I do blog, I’m sure I’ll be beating myself up each and every day. I imagine that pretty common in the blogging world, eh?

    Reading and studying, and reading more (Studying blogs has become a bit of an obsession) I’m certainly finding out that the most interesting bloggers offer great content of course, they know how to tell a story, but they bring themselves forth. They are honest. They are being themselves. The transparency you see is not a defect. In this online, social context openness with communication is what people want. Heck, Marcus, you’re doing the same with your 2-3 posts a week and look at the conversation it generates. Holy mackerel! I love the tone of the posts you’ve been writing lately.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Craig, may I just say it’s comments like yours that make my blogging self-esteem go wayyyyyy up 😉 Heck, I’m almost going to be sad when you actually start your blog because I know you won’t then have the time to add amazing stuff to the conversation like you do. :-)

      Great point about ‘putting yourself out there’. Some folks never do it. I say all or nothing baby. Now granted, I’m not going to yap about what I had for lunch or the scores from yesterday’s games, but I believe in the power of personal experience more than anything else in terms of blogging success. People come to this blog because they feel like I’m a real dude, sharing my thoughts and experiences, and going through life just like them. And by the looks of your comments Craig, I think you’re going to have this ability as well.

      And regarding the tone of recent posts, I think it’s just a reflection of who I’m becoming as a blogger, and what promptings I’m feeling. Not every topic will be for every person, but I’m staying true to my gut, and it sure seems to be paying dividends.

      You rock Craig, can’t wait to support you and your blog.


    • Commenting is my niche; I’m going to start selling spots for my commenting webinar at $49.99 a session. Pretty cool, huh? I can’t wait ’til the money starts rolling in…..

      Sorry Marcus, I didn’t mean to shamelessly promote myself on your site. I’ll give you 5% of what I make from everyone who signs up from this plug. Because I’m a good guy like that and I just want everyone to know.

      • Hahaha Bill, love your way with goofy words my friend. 😉

  17. This really hit home with me. I tend to have a very low-self esteem when it comes to being a worthy blogger. I spend a lot of time thinking about my posts and whether they will be beneficial to anyone. My blog is a self-improvement, spiritual and inspirational blog. I thought my blog was doing pretty fair till I began having technical issues, which have affected my ability reach readers.

    These technical issues regarding my blog, which has humbled me a lot. I have researched many ‘techies’ blogs and have not been able to find an answer, so I decided to just not worry about it. I will write my posts and and be content that I am still able to write.

    Thanks so much for the post.

    • I know what you mean about the technical issues Sally. I’ve had my share of problems too (as a non-techie), and it can be very frustrating. But good for you for pressing forward, and not allowing it to kill your enthusiasm. Never forget the feelings you had when you were prompted to start writing Sally, as they can be an anchor when times are tough.

      Thanks so much for your support. :-)


      • Marcus,

        Thank you so much for your kind comments. Your site is one I visit often. I appreciate all your support and please feel free to visit my site and leave a comment. I am not so soft-skinned that I can’t take constructive criticism. Anything you would offer is bound to be helpful. Thanks again. Sally

  18. Low self esteem is something I battle with as well but I am not, in any way shape or form, well known or famous for anything in-particular. Second guessing myself is common, because I struggle with this and also know many that do as well. it seems that this is more common than we think. Is this a throw back to school yard bullying that stays with us all our lives. In my case that may be it as I was the youngest child and the smallest most uncoordinated in the school yard, I was an easy target.

    It is always easier being on the outside looking in at someone’s life believing they have everything you think you want or need but the truth is that we all suffer this equally it seems.

    • That’s exactly it. We all suffer from some doubts here and there, and we certainly shouldn’t look at any industry leader and think ‘boy do they have it made’. As I said in the article, we’re all going through this, just trying our best.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m so glad this helped a little 😉


  19. Most bloggers go through a period of blog envy and concern about their place/ability to produce content.

    There are days where I get irritated because it appears that another blogger is doing better than I am. There are days where I wonder if I have been fooling myself about my ability to hit the standards that I set for myself.

    FWIW, when I hit those moments I look at a picture of my kids and my attitude changes. I teach them that it is ok to make mistakes and that it is important to learn how to fail. I encourage them to climb back on the horse/bike/ring whatever and try again.

    They aren’t aware of this, but it is fair to say that they hold me accountable to myself.

    • Wow Jack, amen to that my friend, it’s funny how the little ones can bring us back to a sense of reality.

      Keep climbing back on the horse brother 😉

      Thanks so much for your support my friend,


  20. Great post, Marcus.

    As a new blogger, I find it all too easy to fall into a low self esteem rut. Thoughts like: no one is reading my blog, I’m wasting my time, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer, etc. are always running through my head. I have to block them out and remember that every big blog started small just so I can get anything written.

    It’s nice to know that even successful bloggers feel this way too, sometimes.

    • Hi Krista!! And welcome to the community here, I hope it’s not the last time we’ll see you 😉

      I’m so glad you said this article helped you, because it was written specifically with the newer blogger in mind. Trust me when I say I sooooo know what you are going through. There will be ups and downs, yes, but I promise you that it WILL be worth it as you will gain so many new insights, friends, and wisdom.

      Have a great weekend Krista, and look forward to chatting again. :-)


  21. Chris Brogan? Low self-esteem? Never would’ve thunk it but yet I was calculating his self-esteem off of his Klout score (which one should never do). I say he is extremely humble. I had the pleasure to speak with Chris and while I can share he is busy beyond words can describe, he is willing to listen and tell you what he thinks. As for me? Just started blogging on my own and did a few guest spots on other blogs and have been fortunate not to doubt my voice – yet. I am sure that will come with time as it seems like everyone has been there in one way or another. But I have questioned whether I can ‘do’ this. Can I really be a blogger? And what if I fail? What will keep me going and keep me writing and posting new stuff? Continue to interact with people? What if nobody wants to subscribe or comment or share my stuff? That’s where I may have to come back to this post. Thanks Marcus!

    • Doubt affects so many of us in so many different ways Christina. For one person, it may be their ‘voice’. For the next, it could be the utter frustration of no comments, or few subscribers, or lack of ideas, and on and on and on. I think some folks like to pretend they never think about this stuff, but I think it’s only natural, no matter what field, to have moments of concern and doubt….But I’m excited for you and your journey CP. You’re going to do great. :-)

      BTW, Chris is a very humble guy. Almost everyone that meets him says the same thing. Pretty amazing IMO.

      Keep going girl. :-)


  22. This post and its comment point out what is only normal; but seldom faced. We all doubt ourselves sooner or even sooner than that!
    Those little things that people do to us online that lift or lower us make it what it is.
    Recently JK Allen followed me on twitter. That meant as much to me as getting a mention by a named online person.
    Thanks Marcus for this follow up to your post and how you are thinking about Chris Brogan.

    • Yeah, good stuff Billy, and I really appreciate what you say about JK, one of the absolute best people I know in the world, on or offline. That guy is amazing, and it’s little ‘victories’ like that we need to focus on. Really appreciate you coming by Billy :-)

  23. Marcus.
    I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never noticed anyone else mentioning it…maybe I’m just still “new”. Whenever something seems to be on my mind, so many of you that I follow and read and learn from or just plain enjoy, talk about it. One friend I mentioned this to recently, and I’m sorry, but I forget who… replied back and told/reminded me this “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” (Y’all are so cool)

    I just finished reading Chris Guillebeau’s post today, the one that comes to my inbox, The Art of Non-Conformity. Legacy Projects and the Love of True Friends

    Between his post and yours about Chris Brogan, I feel better. (Still dealing with the crazy-stalker-jerk) We do all want to do good. Good for ourselves and honestly, good for others. WE ARE NOT ALONE. That is probably the biggest gift I have received from the many many gifts I feel have rained down on me since starting this journey on line.

    Thanks, Marcus. I’m “Friend-ing” you on FaceBook, since you are OBVIOUSLY too busy to do it!! LOL

    • Ahhh Amber, you’re such a sweet gal, and I’m touched by your words. It truly is an up and down world for many of us. Personally, I tend to be positive, but at the same rate, I worry, and doubt at times as well. These days, for me, it’s about not wanting to let down my audience– which is why I remind myself constantly just to be me, and let the chips fall as they may.

      There is so much support out there to be had. And when I said you’re not alone, I meant it. You’re not. And don’t let that that one jerk rain down on your smile and glorious parade.

      Glad we’re now ‘friends’ Amber 😉


  24. Hi Marcus,

    I absolutely suffer from “low blogging self-esteem,” thinking that no one will find what I’m writing about interesting enough to actually read. During these moments, I try to stay focused on my goals for my blog:
    1. Connect with people
    2. Learn new things
    3. Share what I know
    4. Sharpen my writing skills
    5. Create a “living” and growing writing sample

    When I go back to those goals, I realize that I’m doing exactly what I set out to achieve. If I feel a pang of envy of a successful blogger, I think about how many years it took Darren Rowse to become the Problogger.

    Even if I only get 1 comment on a post, I feel like I’m successful because I didn’t stray from my goals.

    • I loved this comment Marianne. I don’t think most bloggers haven’t written it their ‘essence’ goals as you have here. Having such a perspective to lift you up when you may feel a little down is an exceptional approach, and I commend you for it.

      Continued success Marianne, I’m so glad you stopped by. :-)


    • ‘Create a “living” and growing writing sample’.

      Love this Marianne. I think this is exactly why I blog. Thanks for putting it into such a great sentence!

  25. Hello Marcus! This is my first time here and I am very impressed with your writing and your comments. I found you because I have a Google alert st for Chris Brogan’s name. I am not a stalker :-)

    I’ve known Chris since the early days of Twitter and he has been tremendously helpful to me and very supportive. He even wrote the foreword for a book for me! He is very genuine and humble, especially for someone who has the influence that he has. I think even those that most of us think of as “celebrities” in the blogging universe can have fears and insecurities, and admitting it can be a way of accepting our own inadequacies and being brave enough to keep going.

    Cheers to you for a terrific post!

    • Howdy Stalker Marti! LOL 😉

      So you’re an author, ehhh?? Very nice! And even cooler that CB did the foreward. :-)

      You make a good point about blogging ‘celebs’. They struggle. They have their ups and downs. They just happen to get a few more views than us common folk 😉

      BTW Marti, LOVE the name of your website, very cool, and thanks so much for taking a moment to leave a comment.


  26. You raise an interesting point that we often overlook Marcus in that we make assumptions about the people behind the avatar based on very little information.

    It’s only human nature to do so but sometimes we maybe need to take a step back and reflect before we jump in say or do something based on those assumptions.

    Thanks for your (as ever) thought provoking post :-)

    • Hey Tony, great to see you sir. :-) Yes, a moment of reflection can do us all a little good before making blunt judgements– something that we see occasionally too much of here in the good ‘ol blogosphere. 😉

      But thanks so much for your thoughts and support Tony, have a great week ahead bud.


  27. Marcus, I can understand Chris’ point of view. Just because he’s a big-name blogger with many subscribers, does not he becomes super-human. He has flaws like all humans, and he has doubts about his ability, as all humans do from time to time.

    This is the greatest trait of human beings in action – imperfection. We’re not perfect. Even the Buddha, enlightened as he was, had flaws which he realised. Gandhi addressed his failures at the end of his life with a honest heart. And now Chris Brogan admits he lacks self-esteem from time to time.

    Bloggers are humans. It’s important to recognise this. I’ve been on Skype with a few people now, and each time, I’ve been staring back at a human being. I haven’t been staring at a blog post. This has helped me uncover more of the person I’m talking with, and this in turn makes them more human. They become real, and I can associate with them more because of that.

    But you know the best part? Because I’m fairly adept at body language and non-verbal contact, I can pick up so much from the other blogger just from a few minutes. And from this, I realise that I’m talking with a human being who has insecurities, doubts, hopes, dreams, and questions. All bloggers have these because we’re all human.

    I hope I get to meet more and more of these people face-to-face, where I can really shine and engage in a whole-hearted conversation. See, we’re all the same because we’re all human, and yet we’re all different as individuals. This fascinates me, and I want to learn more :-)

    • Now I’m afraid to Skype with you Stu, as you’ll realize just how wacked out I am man! 😉 Nah, just kidding mate, this comment was awesome, and an astute observation on your part as well. Like you said, we’re all going through our own set of trials and ‘issues’. That’s part of creation. Each time we write, we create, and this is where the opportunity for frustration, or satisfaction, begins.

      Keep doing your thing Stu, you really impress me more and more as the months go by.


      • Ah, looking back at my comment now, I can see how it could have been interpreted!

        People, I’m a friendly, lovable guy who is just as loopy as the best of them :-)

  28. Ummm … isn’t low self esteem actually a requirement? Give that it’s usually on a spectrum I think everyone who isn’t a complete jack *ss has some level of self esteem issues. It’s called being grounded and keeping it real. No one likes to read some high and mighty preachy arrogant post at the end of the day.

    • Double ‘Amen’ to that Ameena. :-) I’m sure you’re like me in that when a blogger is not ‘keeping it real’, it shows completely through in his or her writings, and then respect for said blogger goes down the toilet immediately.

      Appreciate you coming by kind lady, hope your weekend was a great one.


  29. If you mean by low self-esteem that every now and again after re-reading a blog post of mine and thinking it’s actually poorly constructed or tosh Marcus, then yes. What I actually ‘suffer’ from is reading other people’s posts and thinking, ‘That’s how it should be done’, often finding countless articles I would put in the ‘Highest Class’ category whilst never finding any of mine. Is that a bad thing? Guess I’d rather think I could do better than ever cert that I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Plus, I need to be inspired, uplifted, and learn too and when I stop feeling that from reading other people’s work, then I really have got major issues to work on. And what we write about is often what we most need to sort out. Well I do anyway.

    • So with you John, it’s the ‘grass is always greener on the other blog’ syndrome 😉 It’s so easy to compare ourselves, especially when we read some of the great ones out there. But we’re all different, with unique talents and styles, and you’re certainly no exception. I know I’ve told you this before John, but you writing creativity is as good as anyone’s I read on the web. I mean that with all sincerity.

      Cheers mate,


      • First – blush! Second – love coming here because you write with integrity, heart, depth, and transparent honesty. Don’t get that in many places but you’re as true as the day is long Marcus. I’ve not book marked your site, I’ve brainmarked it as I have to keep coming back. Stellar, you are stellar!!

  30. First I wish to state this does not change my view on Chris’s lack of G+ teaching ethics. But on the subject of this blogpost:

    Of course Chris has low self esteem. That does not surprise me. MOST HOLLYWOOD STARS do! There I said it. But the difference is (and I am not Brad Pitt), usually our self esteem comes from our looks more than our monetary success. Often the money is to get back at not having the opposite sex banging down our doors. In Hollywood it is the opposite (I lived in LA for 17 years). Everyone is beautiful so looks doesn’t set you apart. Men and Women who people elsewhere would drop everything to marry just on looks are being told they are too tall, too short, not good looking enough for a part. You think personal brands are any different. Chris to me is a personal brand. So is Brian Solis. Peter Shankman. etc. means they are GREAT at marketing themselves. Doesn’t mean they are great at marketing!

    We all do many things for approval. And if you wanted to know someone who has the least hold on fame and fortune find yourself a Social Media Superstar. They all have low self esteem. Most got famous by accident. 95% of all the thesis’s for social media books for business marketing have proved false over the last 5-7 years (I put Chris’s thesis’s as well). But if you give great talks and write lively books you can make a lot of money and be very popular. But personal brands are short lived. Just ask Leif Garrett or anyone else who got famous on a lark.

    I won’t say Chris got famous in marketing circles on a lark. Right place. Right message (for good or bad) and right time. And when history proves whether you really had game. The cycle is faster for a personal brand or marketing Guru than say a long term stock investor.

    Currently many Social Media Stars are tarnished because the sales results they promised never appeared. It’s not about fans and followers. Social Media doesn’t cause revolutions. Social Media isn’t as important to non-marketers and marketers think it should be. Social Media activity is much less than Mashable or Facebook wants you to believe it is. So how do you sustain something or repeat success, if your initial success turned out not quite as successful as initially suspected.

    • I’m pretty comfortable with my social media superstar status; in fact, I kind of expected it. What I’m uncomfortable with is not being able to go out in public anymore without constantly being hounded, so be careful what you wish for……..

    • Incredible comment Howie, sorry for my slow response (dang swimming pools). In fact, if you haven’t written this yet as an article, you should.

      I don’t know if I agree with all you said, but your passion and thoughtful manner is refreshing as heck, and I dig that.

      Is timing a big deal? Yes, but thousands of others tried to be Chris or Brian during the same time period, but failed. We just don’t know their story. You know what I mean?

      Keep rockin Howie, love it when you stop by friend.


  31. Hey pal, we aren’t friends on FB because you haven’t ‘friended’ me; why am I the one doing all the heavy lifting in this relationship? Speaking of big britches……….just sayin’….good thing I put up with you……..

    Low self esteem; what about astonishment that people are even showing up? It’s like, ok you better pick up your game now. I can only imagine at Chris’ level the pressure to continually crank out quality, readable content. You feel you’ve created this beast and now you have to feed it.

    I would say the ‘pressure’ to produce quality work effects anyone who is taking the time to write regardless what level you are in this spectrum.

    Obviously Chris does care about his audience and with it comes pressure but I also think it creates loyalty and not just satisfaction. Because he does care is probably a big reason for his success.

    That’s all I have to say about it; I hope you have a good Sunday and if you are going to church today remember to wear the lion’s head and tell everybody who you are in case they don’t already know.

    Have a good one buddy.

    • Sorry for my slow reply on this one Bill, but I was too busy taking off my Lion’s head when I got back from church. 😉

      You make me laugh always bud, but you’ve got a serious side as well, and your point about ‘feeding the beast’ is dang true. It’s one thing to write a crappy article, know it’s crappy, but have no fear because few even are watching or care. But once the bar is raised, and expectations are set, well that a whole new ballgame— and frankly one that not everyone is up to being a part of.

      Appreciate you man,


  32. yes and while i have you VLog up to view from last night, it was late, girlfriend was sleeping on the couch, and if you woke her I would be in big trouble. And she already told me Social Media Superstar’s do not exempt the waking up rules. I said…but what if it is Bill? She said she would get back to me because you were actually larger than life and have your own special category.

    Now after eating breakfast and having some delicious local grown Vermont bacon, she has my laptop plugged into the 87″ Plasma with surround sound so we can watch your movie.

    • Special category is right, we just don’t know what that is yet? Was she pretty impressed you knew me?

      • Got me to second base which is impressive after 27 dates. Aliens move very slowly. Our ships fly fast which I think is why the dating thing has such a lag time.

    • LOL, I’m just sitting at my desk picturing the whole thing Howie, and laughing away. :-)….Hope it wasn’t rated X!

  33. I’ve been thinking about this since I read it on Friday. I think we all suffer from low self-esteem, at some point. But I also think that this is not high school and every one of us that puts ourselves out there needs to grow a thicker skin. Adam Singer wrote a really good blog post about needing enemies. I agree with him. The enemies are the ones who tell it like it is (unless you have really good friends who will tell you like it is, in a loving way) and that’s the only way we learn and open our minds. I have enemies and I have frenemies. While I don’t pay attention to the trolls, I DO pay attention to what the enemies and frenemies have to say. And that requires some self-confidence and a really thick skin.

    You and I have both experienced the wrath of the blogosphere. It’s not fun, but I think we’ve both learned a lot from it.

    So my advice? Suck it up and embrace the things that make you feel a little off kilter.

    • Am I your frenemy? I mean you are always defending mashable. 8)

      I don’t like the word enemy for what we do. I can understand that some people we might jeopardize their cash cow of fraudulent work, but that is their fault. I like to consider this type of relationship we are humans and they are bugs.

    • Hey lady, sorry for my slow response on this, but that was incredibly sound advice to anyone looking to survive in this digital jungle. Personally, I think the idea of a ‘frenemy’ is essential. Otherwise, as Davina Brewer talked about recently, we’re just one loud echo chamber of nodding heads.

      Happy trekking 😉


  34. I’ve always found that there are two types of low-self esteem (well there are millions of types, but I’m being reductive…). The low self esteem of the voiceless. Those that lack confidence and don’t really have anything to say. Then there is the low self esteem of the voiced. Essentially it is those of us (and I absolutely count me as one of the ones with utterly low self esteem) who lack the confidence, but never manage to keep the words in.

    Nice to see Chris being so open about it as so many of us (myself often included) are trying so hard to put on a front that we don’t ever really talk about what is really going on beneath the surface.

    • Sorry for my slow response on this one Michael, but you and I are pretty dang similar my friend. I guess that’s why Chris’ comments resonated so much with us both. Powerful stuff man.


  35. You know Marcus, it’s an interesting thing to have to think about. In many areas I don’t have low self esteem, and in many areas I do. It’s funny; I can stand in front of a couple hundred people and give a presentation and not even think about it, but I have problems picking up the phone and calling people. I absolutely cringe when I have to get on the phone. And I had been thinking for a few years that it only had to do with business until I realized that I have problems even picking up the phone and calling my friends; I mean, what the hey?

    To that end, I know I need to work on that. And I’ve finally loaded Skype onto my computer, and now I’m also ready for video conferencing, something I’ve dodged for years as well. So, I’m working my way through that bit of low self esteem issues; freaky!

    • That’s so very interesting Mitch– the fact that you have zero fear of public speaking but aren’t a huge Alexander Graham Bell fan. 😉 But like you said, you’re getting better and better– and progress is really the only thing that matters.

      Thanks so much for stopping by bud.


  36. Hey Marcus!
    This is a very powerful post as evidenced by the discussion in the comments. I don’t really have much to add except that I believe the discussion demonstrates an important issue that every human being deals with. And that issue is that we all have a rotten little voice in our head that feeds low self-esteem, self-loathing, insecurity or whatever you classify your negative self-thought to be. If we want to overcome that, rise above it, and step into the amazing individuals we were created to be than we have to stop listening to that snotty little voice.

    And if you’re are reading this and thinking “I don’t have a little voice,” – you just heard it. I have a belief about why we all have that negative bent, but more importantly I know we have to shut it up, shut it down, and/or retrain it if we are going to step into the individual greatness that each of us contains.

    If you can figure out the things that gets the nasty voice going (comparison to A-listers or any one for that matter, over analysis of your work, forgetting your purpose for doing what you do, or whatever it is for you), then you can start to find ways to flip it. And that changes everything.

    Big Lion Hugs To ALL

    • And if you’re are reading this and thinking “I don’t have a little voice,” – you just heard it.…..quite possibly the best little line of this entire strand Marlee. :-)

      And yes, if we can just ‘flip it’, everything will change. Heck, when it all comes down to it, we’re all pretty darn talented, but the ‘self talk’ is often what leads down the road of failure or success.

      Thanks for swinging by you awesome lady. :-)


  37. Who is Chris Brogan? Do local drugstore customers know him? Does the mayor know him?

    A list? Whatever.

    • A list or not, he’s a great example Ari, at least for bloggers in this niche, of someone that has experienced high levels of success but notwithstanding has his moments. I know many find that quite inspiring. I do.

  38. Tim

    Great post. That is so true. So far I fall into the group who started blogging mostly for me, I wanted to write more and have a lot of (what I find) interesting thoughts and opinions. But I have actually always struggled with writing in general bc of my dyslexia, so I use to never share what I wrote. But now I share with the world and it can be terrifying.

    • Tim, thanks so much for sharing this man. The fact that you were able to overcome your dyslexia and embrace writing speaks highly of your makeup, and I can only say that I hope you continue to discover the giant within.

      Cheers brother, and I hope to see you in these parts again!


  39. Hi Marcus,
    Chris Brogan sent me.

    Nice post.

    I was wondering why, at the end of the post, you ask readers to friend you on Facebook?

    I gave up on that a while ago, then created a page, and now have moved on to G+.

    Why not ask people to LIKE your FB page and add you on G+?

    • Hey Steve, so sorry for my slow response, but I very much appreciate you following Chris’ advice and giving the blog here a spin, and I do hope it won’t be the last time. 😉

      As far as your question, it’s a good one, and my answer is I’m really not sure :-) But I do know that I like both mediums and hope to get much better with G+…and I’ve now added the G+ widget on the sidebar as well since you left this comment.

      Great feedback though, much appreciated.


  40. Marcus, I caught wind this interesting discussion by way of Brogan’s G+ Circle even though his RSS has been in my Google reader for many moons. This is a good thing since now, I’ve found another high caliber site to learn from and perhaps even contribute a thing or two over time.

    • Hey Neil, so sorry for my late reply to your comment here, but I’m thrilled you’ve found the site and I think if you stick around you’ll see it’s one of the best communities on the web…..although I am a little biased 😉

      Appreciate the comment and hope to see you again,


  41. It’s always the real posts that get me! Dude, this is the real stuff.

    So, confidence is definitely king. It’ll make you do.. or not do. It’s the backbone of massive action but yep, it’s a hard thing to consistently come by in this world. Maybe because you’ve got a billion competitors perhaps? Eh, who knows what it really is.

    I’ve struggled with this over the last year a bit, but mainly in trying to figure out where I fit in the bigger web/blogging/social business arena. Everyday is another day up the hill. I’ve really begun to enjoy the walk up and somehow, it’s helped me to start running.

    Really liked this post man.

    • Hi Ryan, and thanks so much for this comment man. May I just say I’m glad you’re enjoying the walk up as well. :-) Sadly, it seems like many folks lose their ‘edge’ or ‘desire’ after the first few months. The fact that you’ve kept going, and really are enjoying yourself, says a ton.

      Keep up the great work brother and thanks so much for stopping by the community here. Hope to see you again.


      • Hey Marcus,

        Yea! The losing the edge thing. A pandemic out there!

        Thanks for your cool words, talk later.

  42. You know, I’ve always been more comfortable sharing my content with on-line “strangers” than my off-line friends and family. I didn’t think they would get it…or worse yet, that maybe they didn’t think the content was that good.

    It was a ridiculous thought! Of course they supported and liked it. But that’s how your mind works at times. The negative self-talk can be very powerful.

    We all have our esteem issues, at different levels. We just have to keep trying to break through those barriers.

    • Good stuff Joe, and it’s true, it’s funny that sometimes we’re more afraid of our own family and their opinions than the opinions of others. Keep making a difference Joe, and I really appreciate the time you take to support this blog my friend.


  43. Anja

    Hi! Having a low self-esteem is lack of self confidence. Every writer wants to have more readers and expecting good feed backs. The problem is if they’ve got criticism they can’t accept the fact that it is for their own good. They have to accept this a challenge. Instead of having some doubts on what they do, they should strive harder to aim their goal.

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